Equipment deterioration simplified

The equipment deterioration rules (originally inspired by Logan) that I posted before have seen around 10 sessions of online play testing. In general, I like the idea, but in practice I found that the large number of notches tended to prevent the effects from ever showing up on-screen. Rolling another die on every notch to test for immediate breakage is also too much work (and easy to forget, being outside the standard D&D workflow). The replacement costs I made up were a bit too complicated.

This new version of the rules (included below) feels “finished” to me, though I have only used them for two sessions so far. The complexity overhead and game impact are about where I want them.┬áThe new version does away with “null result” notch accumulation while also giving players some warning before their weapon or armor is totally gone.


There are three different gear states: sound, damaged, and ruined. On rolls less than or equal to an item’s quality rating, the item drops a category, which decreases its effectiveness in the case of “damaged.” Repairing a damaged weapon costs 1/2 new price. Some actions may cause an automatic downgrade, such as hitting a statue with an axe.┬áDamaged weapons deal less damage and damaged armor loses one point of protection.

4 thoughts on “Equipment deterioration simplified

  1. Mark

    This looks more user friendly than the notches post. I like that there are only three status conditions for weapons, easy to remember and implement. The whole system provides a gold sink, a rationale for carrying multiple weapons and also for using enemies’ weapons.

    For shops do you use a randomised table for what might be available? ie. d20 1-2 = quality 5, 3-6 quality 4, 7-16 quality 3, 17-19 quality 2, 20 best quality. I figure the best weapons are usually the ones that have already been purchased. Fairly easy to randomise monster weapons.

    Magic weapons are best quality or do they not deteriorate? I prefer the former.

    Reply
    1. Brendan Post author

      I would probably rule what was available based on the size of the town. Quality 3 items being default and generally available. Maybe with a 1 in 6 chance of something beyond the standard means of the town being available.

      Quality 2 or 1 should probably only be available reliably in larger towns, and in limited quantities. If you wanted to make quality 1 items even more special, perhaps you need to visit the hermit smith on the mountain to get a sword forged.

      Magic weapons in my games tend to be relatively rare, so I would probably make them not deteriorate, but I also suspect that would vary based on the particular campaign setting.

      Reply
  2. Telecanter

    I think this is a cool example of what I love best about blogging, the conversation around and revising of ideas. I like how you simplified it. I think I might tweak it a bit myself and blog about it. I like the idea that a sword or axe found in a dungeon might matter, and how this rule could make them exist in the way shields shall be splintered made shields exist. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Item breakage in Pits & Perils | Deep Delving

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